Smailholm Tower, Kelso, Scotland.

This evening, I am providing information on Smailholm Tower in the Scottish Borders, a haunting tower house which sits proudly on the stark landscape. Location is about five miles west of Kelso.

Summary information as follows:

  • A rectangular building constructed of black volcanic rock and red sandstone sitting atop a volcanic outcrop at a height of 650 ft above sea level.
  • Founded in mid 16th century for the Pringles (or Hoppringles) with ownership later transferring to the Scotts of Harden from whom romantic novelist Sir Walter Scott is descended.
  • The tower has five levels: Bottom two were intended for storage and top three for occupation. Surrounding the base was an outer wall or ‘barmkin’ six feet thick.
  • Architecture is a function of the turbulent era in which it was constructed, defensive with gunholes.
  • Over the years Smailholm was caught in various military activities and suffered from Border Reiving attacks.
  • On a more peaceful note, Scottish romantic novelist Sir Walter Scott was brought to nearby Sandyknowe Farm as a child in the 1770s to recover from illness (probably polio). His time here inspired his subsequent writings, particularly the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border(1802).

Inside Smailholm Tower, Scotland.

View from Smailholm Tower

Inside Smailholm Tower, Scottish Borders.

Sandyknowe Farm from Smailholm Tower

View from Smailholm Tower, Scottish Borders.

This is a quality attraction but access can be difficult requiring visitors to scramble over rough ground where cattle roam. However, such effort is rewarded by the stunning views  over the local landscape.

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